Home > government and politics, military and defense, U.S. Army War College > Once Again, the Challenge to the U.S. Army During a Defense Reduction: To Remain a Military Profession

Once Again, the Challenge to the U.S. Army During a Defense Reduction: To Remain a Military Profession

April 14, 2012
Source:  Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

As with the post-Cold War downsizing during the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, one critical challenge for the U.S. Army centers on the qualitative, institutional character of the Army after the reductions—will the U.S. Army manifest the essential characteristics and behavior of a military profession with Soldiers and civilians who see themselves sacrificially called to a vocation of service to country within a motivating professional culture that sustains a meritocratic ethic, or will the Army’s character be more like any other government occupation in which its members view themselves as filing a job, motivated mostly by the extrinsic factors of pay, location, and work hours? In mid-2010, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff directed the Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command, then General Martin Dempsey, to undertake a broad campaign of learning, involving the entire Department. The intent was to think through what it means for the Army to be a profession of arms and for its Soldiers and civilians to be professionals as the Army largely returns stateside after a decade of war and then quickly transitions to the new era of Defense reductions. Several new conceptions of the Army as a military profession have been produced, along with numerous initiatives that are currently being staffed to strengthen the professional character of the Army as it simultaneously recovers from a decade of war and transitions through reductions in force. They form the descriptive content of this monograph.

Full Paper (PDF)

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